DC | Back To Detective Comics | May 1939 | Volume 1 | USA | 4 Owned
First Appearance of Batman

Key Issue
Basic Information
May 1939
Comic Age
Cover Price
Issue Facts
  • 1st APPEARANCE of the "BATMAN" (Bruce Wayne)
Issue Credits
Crossover/Story Arcs
Arcs :
Stories May contain spoliers
 The Case of the Chemical Syndicate 

Commissioner Gordon is relaxing at home with his friend Bruce Wayne, who asks him if anything interesting has been happening lately. Gordon begins discussing a fellow called "Bat-man" when he receives a call that a chemical manufacturer Lambert has been found murdered. They have his son in custody, and his fingerprints were on the knife. Gordon invites Wayne to tag along, and he obliges claiming he has nothing better to do.

Upon arrival, Lambert's son explains that he found his father lying on the floor, and professes his innocence. He admits to pulling the knife out of his father's back and that the last word his father said was "contract." They discuss Lambert's three associates: Alfred Srtryker, Paul Rogers, and Steve Crane.

Crane calls Gordon and says that Lambert had confided in him that he'd received death threats the day below. Crane has received a similar threat, and has requested police protection. While Wayne heads home, Gordon goes to the Crane residence.

Gordon is too late as Crane is killed by a gunman who comes in through his window. A piece of paper is stolen from Crane and the perpetrators flee to the roof, where they are confronted by the Bat-man, standing in the moonlight. After a brief fight, Bat-man throws one of the gunmen off the roof and escapes with the stolen paper before Gordon arrives. The GCPD do try to arrest Bat-man, but are unable to catch him. Meanwhile, Gordon learns of Crane's death and heads to find another business partner. Elsewhere, Bat-man reads the paper he found and smiles, then drives off.

One of the partners, Paul Rogers, heads to the other partner's (Alfred Stryker) laboratory after hearing of Lambert's death. Stryker's assistanct, Jennings, clubs Rogers and ties him up. Jennings explains that he is planning to lower a gas chamber over Rogers to kill him, just like he does to animals he puts to sleep. Jennings leaves to activate the gas when Bat-man leaps into the room through a ceiling window. Bat-man dives into the gas chamber with a wrench, and plugs the gas chamber with a handkerchief, then busts the glass open with the wrench.

Jennings returns with a gun but Bat-man punches and subdues him. Stryker enters and demands to know what happened and Rogers explains that Jennings was planning to murder him. Jennings was working in cahoots with Styker though, as Stryker pulls out a knife to kill Rogers himself. Bat-man, who was hiding in the shadows during the exchange, leaps out and stops him.

Bat-man explains to Rogers that they were all partners in Apex Chemical Corporation, and Stryker had secret contracts with all of them to pay them annually until he owned the business outright. He grew impatient, and hatched a plan to kill them instead. Stryker attempts to get away and pulls a gun on Bat-man, but is punched by Bat-man with such force that he flies over a railing and into a vat of acid. Bat-man shows little remorse and leaves through the window he came in. Rogers attempts to thank Bat-man, but he's already gone.

Later, Gordon tells the story to Bruce Wayne, who seems unimpressed and leaves. Gordon reflects that he thinks Wayne to be a nice young man, but a boring one. Wayne returns to Wayne Manor and it is revealed that Wayne is Bat-man.
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